A huge thank you goes out to Julia who took the time out her busy schedule to be able to answer my questions. I hope you enjoy !
- Which talent would you most like to have besides writing or teaching ? I’d like to be really smart. I’m always so impressed with fabulous surgeons who save people’s lives or scientist who discover awesome medicines or can solve complex mathematical formulas. Having always been on the humanities side of life, it would be fun to use the other half of my brain : )
- If you were to die and choose to come back as, what would it be and why? I’m assuming you mean a non-human. I sort of believe we all DO choose to come to earth exactly as the person we are, with the family we have. I don’t believe the same about animals. I guess I’d pick a dog living in a good family. Dogs have it made. They eat, sleep, play, get back rubs and belly rubs – what a life! They don’t have to worry about other animals eating them either so that’s a big advantage. Did you see Disney’s Earth? I felt so bad for those animals in the wild. Anyhow, I dog. Why not?
- What historical figure would you most identify with? How about good ‘ole Abe Lincoln. He was determined and hung on when things got tough. He also loved education. I like to think that I have those qualities. And Walt Disney – he was a positive guy that thought about bringing happiness to others.
- What do you most value in your friends? Honesty. I have wonderful friends, each with their own quirks that I love, but I couldn’t be friends with someone I didn’t trust completely. As long as someone is honest with you, you can get past anything else.
- What is it about the Argentine experience do you think you missed the most while being more American then Argentine? I definitely missed the connection to family. We were basically all alone in America. No extended family. No cousins to play with, no family get togethers on the weekends, no grandparents to spoil us (me and my brother). I really missed that. When I finally got a chance to visit Argentina for an extended period of time and realized how wonderful it was to have a family, I missed it even more. We’ve always had friends, but to me growing up, it wasn’t the same. I also realized when I was in Argentina how much fun people have. They go out dancing, play cards, sit in the front yard and chat with neighbors. Here, at least in California, life is always so rushed and the little things like getting to know the neighbors just doesn’t happen.
- What was it about the differences in relationships between the older generation vs. the younger generation make it a point of discussion in the book? Well, Im not sure if it’s a generational thing as much as a cultural thing that causes problems for the characters. I think anytime people come from another country, they bring with them their customs and beliefs that will probably be different than they are here in America. So, immediately, there’s going to be a clash between them and their children who are raised in America. In my story, the parents believe that children stay with their parents until they get married. They weren’t happy about their children leaving home to pursue their goals. They also valued traditions like eating as a family on Sundays. Their children do so to please their parents. Also men and women living together without being married is frowned upon by the older Argentine generation, while the American children don’t think it’s a big deal. I found that in my own family, my father had a very difficult time accepting simple American ideas like sleep overs for teenagers or going to high school football games unsupervised. Some of it had to do with him being from Argentina, but also, yes, a generational thing.
- What would be one of your greatest regrets? I used to say that I never have regrets – that everything I’ve done was the best I could have done at that time and there’s no point in having regrets. But the longer I live, the more I realize that I do have some regrets, and things I would do differently. One of the things that I think I’ll regret in the future is not taking my mother to Spain. Her father was from Spain and she told me when I was a kid that she didn’t want to die without seeing Spain. I promised that I’d take her. And the truth is that I don’t know if I ever will. It’s just so expensive and now that I have my own children, it doesn’t look like it will be possible. This would be a reaching out to her roots and I know she’d love it. So, if I’m not able to swing it one day, I know I’ll always wish I could have.
- You mentioned in a blog talk radio interview that you are going back to university and partially homeschooling your children, what was it that made you want to do both of these things, and which one is the most challenging for you right now in the midst of a book tour? Oh boy, it’s all incredibly difficult right now. I home school my children, because I was so dissatisfied with the school system and their emphasis on testing. When I was a teacher I spent way too much class time preparing kids to take a test. Not doing experiments or building their creativity or learning how to write properly – but learning how to fill in a little circle. I didn’t want that for my children. So, I try to give them as much as my attention as I can during the day, and allow them to do as much authentic learning as possible. But, now especially, with the release of Evenings at the Argentine Club, I find myself resorting to worksheets and “school” learning. So, I’d have to say home schooling is the most challenging. My college classes are tough, but at this point I value my kids’ education more than my own, so I worry more about making sure they had a great educational day. But my husband is a great helper, and so is my mother. I couldn’t do what I do without them.
- What would be your greatest idea of happiness? A house full of books? My book on the best seller list? Okay, I need to get my mind off books. Actually, my greatest happiness would be that my kids grow up happy and prepared to achieve whatever they dream of in life. I’m very goal orientated and I sometimes am very tough on them, but it’s because I want them to have tons of opportunities. But no matter what they finally decide to do with their lives, if they are happy with themselves and don’t harm themselves or others, I’ll be a happy person.
- What would be the trait that you most deplore in yourself? I’m a slob. I have piles of “stuff” everywhere and can’t seem to throw anything away. With all the things going on in my life, I can never seem to find the time to get really organized. I have my planner and when I sit down to plan I feel like I’m wasting my time – I could be doing the things I need to do rather than writing about it. I really don’t like this trait, but I doubt I’ll ever change. I’m also not thrilled with my weight : )